The proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform nearly every industry, and government affairs is certainly no exception. AI tools are emerging with capabilities that could rewrite much of how this industry works.
“It seemingly unleashed 10 years of efficiencies overnight,” says Joseph Hoefer, vice president of government relations and public affairs at Monument Advocacy. He explains that a task “that would normally take two or three hours to do, with the right prompt and the right data, you can do in 45 seconds.”
While it seems clear that AI will impact the government affairs and advocacy industries, questions remain regarding exactly what those impacts will be and how you can prepare for them.
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Key Use Cases for AI in Government Affairs
Bill Analysis & Summary
There are a number of tasks AI has the potential to automate, but a legislative tracking software like FiscalNote gives teams the ability to quickly analyze and summarize large chunks of text, which is particularly significant for the government affairs and advocacy industry. This AI-powered tool digests complex bills in seconds, reducing the need for you to spend hours looking for the right version of a legislation or regulatory document and reading every word. You can then spend more time drawing on your expertise or leverage professional policy services to analyze the potential impact on your organization and inform your plans for action.
“Prior to AI moving into this legislative and governmental affairs space, the extent of technology-centered help was just a general word search,” says Terri Reynolds, principal and managing member at Levitate Legal Consulting. “Now, AI can do a deeper dive into these bills, even to the point of summarizing bills, something that’s definitely of interest to us.”
AI’s summarizing capabilities can be particularly helpful when it comes to comparing multiple bills. “We would view AI tools as being particularly helpful when it comes to analyzing similar bills focused on a specific issue and their key differences, key similarities, and communities of people that tend to sponsor bills together,” says Andrew Howell, partner at Monument Advocacy.
Tools like CQ Federal and FiscalNote, for example, give you access to bill analysis and comparison across Congress and state houses, allowing you to spot trends ahead of time and build a proactive government affairs function.
Discover Trends & Track Behavior
These AI-powered tools help you draw on bill comparison data to discover general trends. “A lot of what we provide for our clients is not just the review of a single bill, but the trends that could potentially be associated with that bill [and] what legislators in other states are doing around the same areas. I think that’s probably the most promising area with AI,” Reynolds says.
For example, national organizations have been pushing states to take up similar bills. A platform that relies on AI, such as FiscalNote, can pick up on these trends so you can be aware of them and respond quickly. When a bill appears in one state that is similar to other legislation, technology can help you understand what potential impacts it will have.
Additionally, AI can help your government affairs team track legislators’ behavior over time so you can find more people who may be receptive to your issues. While AI can’t replace the expertise of a knowledgeable government affairs professional, it can help your team gather data faster so you can focus their energy on applying their expertise and providing value across the organization.
AI Tools for Advocacy
AI can be particularly useful for writing and editing advocacy content, improving email campaigns, and creating multimedia content. Advocacy organizations that embrace these tools will be able to work more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
“Sometimes we hesitate to take the human factor out of things, but time is money,” William Devoe, director of communications and advocacy at Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State, said at a recent VoterVoice advocacy event. “See if you can automate some of that stuff and free up some of your time. I would encourage [you] to play around with ChatGPT and give it some prompts and see what it does for you.”
The AI built into advocacy platforms like VoterVoice provides real-time suggestions to instantly improve your communications and campaign effectiveness. You can easily see which issues are firing up your advocates, then maximize email success using SmartCheck, an embedded tool that makes call-to-action recommendations based on the most up-to-date best practices. Plus, VoterVoice’s advocate ranking and issue tracking technology helps you understand which supporters are most active and which issues spur the most responses.
See if you can automate some of that stuff and free up some of your time. I would encourage [you] to play around with ChatGPT and give it some prompts and see what it does for you.William DeVoe, Director of Communications and Advocacy
Cerebral Palsy Association of NYS
Risks of AI for Government Affairs Pros
While AI undoubtedly possesses the potential to make government affairs and advocacy easier, it has drawbacks just like any technology. It’s important that you carefully assess a tool’s features and limitations so you can use the technology to its full potential.
“As government affairs professionals, all of us need to look at these tools with a critical eye in terms of what they can and can’t do and how they will help us do our jobs, while also recognizing that this is an entirely new space that all of us are going to have to spend time learning about and being trained on,” Howell says.
For example, “the amount of bias with the data sets is problematic,” Hoefer says. AI algorithms are trained on data from existing publications that are almost always biased, and developers are still devising ways to remove bias from AI outputs. If lobbyists aren’t careful, the biases in AI algorithms can impact the quality and accuracy of their analyses.
Factual accuracy is another significant concern when using AI. Some users of AI tools, particularly generative AI, have obtained outputs filled with inaccuracies. While these algorithms will likely become more accurate over time, complete accuracy can never be guaranteed. “Everything that is generated will have to be reviewed with the human eye” to guarantee that it’s factual, Reynolds cautions.
AI platforms are actively working to reduce these risks, however. AI research and development company OpenAI is introducing a protocol for selected and trusted developers, all leaders in their respective fields, that enables them to use designated APIs to connect their applications. For example, FiscalNote was recently selected by OpenAI for collaboration as an inaugural “trusted partner” — and the sole provider of legal, political, and regulatory data and information — by enabling access to select FiscalNote market-leading, real-time data sets and content for users of OpenAI’s ChatGPT platform.
By leveraging this development relationship with OpenAI, FiscalNote will expose certain data and information, determined by FiscalNote, to OpenAI’s user base and thereby gain further insights into how users may desire to leverage generative models to understand political and regulatory information in the future.
Ultimately, technology is only as good as the people using it. Government affairs professionals who carefully vet their technology providers and select respected and trusted firms will be able to take advantage of AI’s many benefits without suffering from its drawbacks.
Preparing for the Impact of Artificial Intelligence
Government affairs teams unwilling to embrace AI may lose their edge over their competition. On the other hand, organizations that buy into the hype and rush to implement AI without taking the time to learn about it leave themselves open to risk. The best way forward is to research AI capabilities and speak with trustworthy vendors about what they can offer.
There are still many questions surrounding AI, but there’s no question that it will leave its mark on the industry. “It will be very interesting to see how AI trends and which portions of the lobbying and government affairs profession lean on it more,” Reynolds says. “But I believe 10 years from now, everyone in this profession will be engaging with AI in a pretty substantive way.”
How FiscalNote’s AI-Driven Intelligence Can Help Your Team
FiscalNote’s patented AI technology empowers you with the information and tools you need to make smarter decisions and navigate complex situations. Our Application Programming Interface (API) capabilities allow our database of global legislative and regulatory data, elected officials, and government contacts to be seamlessly integrated into your internal processes. Our one-way API integration data includes information on the policy, people, and activity that matters most.
FiscalNote also empowers teams to work more quickly and efficiently with bill analysis, transcription and summary tools, bill comparison, to track trends over time, and even to predict a law's chances of passing.
You can also leverage cutting-edge technology and fuel your advocacy efforts with VoterVoice, the only AI-driven advocacy platform on the market. VoterVoice uses AI and data science for ease of information, benchmarks, and suggestions. Thanks to that injection of AI, VoterVoice makes it easier to take action with pre-populated contact details, understand your campaign successes (and opportunities for improvement) with peer benchmarking, and drive engagement with AI-powered suggestions.
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